Record number of women standing for election
A RECORD number of women are standing in next month’s general election.
This year 30 of the 92 candidates are female, the highest number recorded this century.
Four of this year’s female candidates – Grouville Deputy Carolyn Labey, St Lawrence Constable Deidre Mezbourian, St Saviour Constable Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard and St Martin Constable-elect Karen Stone – were elected unopposed on nomination evenings held last week.
Among the 17 Senatorial hopefuls, four are women – Senator Sarah Ferguson, Deputy Kristina Moore, Deputy Tracey Vallois and newcomer Moz Scott.
Of the 14 people who put themselves forward for Constable five were women, while a further 21 women are standing for Deputy out of 61 hopefuls.
Statistics generated by the Flow.je website show that 62 men are standing for election this year, which is exactly the same number as in the last general election in 2014.
Businesswoman Kate Wright, of the Jersey Women in Politics group, said that she was ‘delighted’ with the increase in female candidates.
‘It is great. If there is greater diversity then it leads to better decision making in the States Assembly as the community is better represented. It’s not just tokenism,’ she said.
‘You are seeing this more with businesses getting on board with diversity as well, so it’s not just in politics.’
Ms Wright said that her group had run a series of initiatives to encourage women to get into politics, including by educating them on matters such as how Jersey’s political system works, how to speak publicly and operating on social media as a public figure.
Sitting female politicians Deputies Louise Doublet, Tracey Vallois and Kristina Moore, as well as Senator Sarah Ferguson, have assisted the group and provided advice.
‘There’s more momentum for change for women. With what you have seen in the UK media with the gender pay gap and the #MeToo campaign, I think women are feeling that they are more confident to voice their views politically,’ said Ms Wright.
‘We will see what happens in the election, but we are in for the longer term. Women going into politics are going into a male-dominated world and need support to understand it.’
Women in Politics, which has the support of the States Greffe, is made up of representatives from organisations including the Jersey Community Relations Trust, the Diversity Network, Soroptimist International of Jersey and the Diversity Forum.
The group was officially launched at the end of last year with an event at which Sophie Walker, of the Women’s Equality party, spoke.
There is an increased number of candidates overall running in this year’s election and fewer seats were uncontested compared to the last time round. Thirteen Members were elected unopposed on nomination night compared to 17 in 2014.
Election day is 16 May.